Books

Toshi Widoff-Woodson

It's been called a memoir in verse, a collection of vignettes about time, place, family and race. The book Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson defies convention and can be read in any number of ways, as it will be for this year's Vermont Reads, a statewide reading project presented by the Vermont Humanities Council. 

"American Street" by Ibi Zoboi and "Clayton Byrd Goes Underground" by Rita Williams-Garcia are both on the shortlist for the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
HarperCollins Publishers, courtesy

When Rita Williams-Garcia read Ibi Zoboi's application to Vermont College of Fine Arts, she knew the writer was extremely talented. Williams-Garcia then served as Zoboi's faculty advisor at the school.

Now, Zoboi and Williams-Garcia each have a book nominated to the shortlist for the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. That's two of the final five!

Fourth grade students at Northfield Elementary School played a Jeopardy!-style game, led by school librarian Nanette Smith, that featured questions about Peter Brown's novel "The Wild Robot."
Meg Malone / VPR

In the book The Wild Robot, a robot named Roz washes up on a remote island and must learn survival skills.

Northfield Elementary School students recently gathered in their school library to show off what they learned about the book by way of a friendly trivia competition.

Sept. 24 through Sept. 30 is 2017's "Banned Books Week" across the country. Librarian Angele Mott Nickerson talked to "Vermont Edition" about how the state is marking the occasion.
AJT / iStockphoto.com

If you're an author whose book is banned or challenged, your work is in pretty good company. This week is "Banned Books Week" across the country, and Vermont Edition talked with librarian Angele Mott Nickerson of Shelburne's Pierson Library about how Vermont is marking the occasion.

President Chester A. Arthur - in cutout form - presides over the town office in Fairfield, Vermont back on Aug. 14, 2009. We're talking about Arthur's life and his unexpected presidency.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Former president Chester A. Arthur often gets short shrift — even here in the state of his birth, where he's frequently referred to as "Vermont's other president." Today we're giving Arthur some attention.

In this file photo, Judith Jones accepts a lifetime achievement award at the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony on May 8, 2006 in New York. Jones, who edited cookbooks and more throughout her career, died at her summer home in Walden on Aug. 2, 2017.
Richard Drew / Associated Press File

When editor and author Judith Jones died last week at her summer home in Walden, Vermont, she was remembered as someone who forever changed our attitudes toward cooking and food. Jones was working for Alfred A. Knopf publishing when she discovered Julia Child, whose groundbreaking book on French cooking had been rejected by other publishers.

Harry Bliss, a longtime illustrator and cartoonist stands outside his New Hampshire home, where he will be hosting a fellowship for burgeoning cartoonists. The house happens to have been the residence of the famously reclusive author, J.D. Salinger.
Rebecca Sananes / Vermont Public Radio

The Center for Cartoon Studies and illustrator Harry Bliss are inviting a new generation of cartoonists to apply for a fellowship at Bliss's house. The well-known illustrator lives in the former home of a well-known author: J.D. Salinger.

A new poetry collection titled "Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry" was co-edited by current Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord and former Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea. Chard deNiord spoke to "Vermont Edition" about the new book.
Green Writers Press, courtesy

Well before he became Vermont Poet Laureate, Chard deNiord thought there was a need for an anthology of modern Vermont poetry. Vermont is chock-full of poets, he thought, and it would be great to have a collection that would give people an idea of what's out there.

On a sultry weekday morning, patrons escaped the heat and gathered at the Essex public library in Essex, Conn. for a weekly book discussion.

“So what did you all think of the book?” asked librarian Emily Boucher. She was leading the discussion of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 novel “The Remains of the Day.” Library copies of the book were littering the table — copies on loan from other public libraries, sent via the state’s interlibrary loan system — a system which library patron Bob Phoenix routinely relies on.

Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

A teen who believes she can see into the mind of a serial killer, a feminist take on Death of a Salesman through poetry, and a collection of interlocking short stories set in Sweden. All three are subjects of the books nominated for this year’s Vermont Book Award.

We're talking about summer reading on "Vermont Edition," and we want to hear your recommendations.
sensay / iStock

Vermont Edition's annual summer reading show is here! We're offering up a smorgasbord of book recommendations from readers, which means we want to hear from you.

Former journalist Stephen Kiernan is the author of three novels and two works of nonfiction.
Nancy Winship Miliken / HarperCollins, Courtesy

Morally fraught historical events can lead to compulsion to wonder, "What would I have done in those circumstances?" Vermont writer Stephen Kiernan's new novel, The Baker's Secret, unspools the transformation of its heroine Emma from a normal teenager to a clever, but desperate, survivor of German occupation.

Author Howard Norman lives in East Calais. He spoke to "Vermont Edition" recently about his latest novel, "My Darling Detective."
Emma Norman / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Courtesy

East Calais author Howard Norman's love of noir crime literature and film is clearly evident in his latest novel, My Darling Detective.

"Before We Sleep" author Jeffrey Lent says he's fascinated by history and how it shapes the present day.
Jack Rowell, courtesy

In his latest novel, Before We Sleep, Vermont author Jeffrey Lent tells the story of how one man's experience serving in World War II shapes not only his life, but that of his wife and daughter. Lent spoke with Vermont Edition about his writing process and why stories from the past preoccupy him.

Weybridge Elementary School fourth-grader Juliette Hunsdorfer shows off a copy of 'The War That Saved My Life,' while sixth-grader Narges Anzali listens to another reader's comments about the book.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The War That Saved My Life, by author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is a World War II-era story about a girl and her brother who have a chance to escape their cruel childhood when London is evacuated during the war.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

Sent from Vermont to Washington as a U.S. senator for the first time in 1974, Patrick Leahy has served longer than any other current member of the Senate.

A street corner in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Think about ideal images of downtowns and village centers, and a few ideas will come to mind – thriving storefronts, neighbors bumping into each other and public places for people to gather. Author Philip Langdon might argue that's the result when we design our downtowns to be walkable.

Courtesy of Andrew Forsthoefel

In 2011, Andrew Forsthoefel graduated from Middlebury College and faced a common question: What to do next? Forsthoefel decided he would walk across the country.

Courtesy of Nancy Stearns Bercaw

Nancy Stearns Bercaw is a Vermonter and a championship swimmer who struggled for years with alcohol addiction. She found a path to recovery in an unlikely – and very dry – place: Abu Dhabi. 

Julia Jensen / Courtesy

Two young boys learn about death and mercy on a camping trip, a fishing guide contemplates and crosses a dark line during an excursion with a rich, entitled client and a teenager following the Grateful Dead for a summer tour plunges into a frightening drug addled spiral.

These are just some of the characters searching for truth and meaning in life and death in the new short story collection by Vermont author Tim Weed.

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